I Am Never Exempt

God is simply amazing.  I’ve been teaching a class on deep emotional healing over the past couple of months and God has really been doing some amazing things in the lives of these women.  It was really interesting as I prepared to teach all of these classes because the lessons I taught were all from the perspective of one who has experienced these things and I have been in the place you are now and God has brought me through this.  I was able to share experiences and talk from the vantage point of having been through the storm and come out safely on the other side.

And then there was today.  Today was different.  When preparing for the last session of this series in the early hours of the morning, I felt the Lord change the direction of this class from the intended topic to a new topic that was more relevant.  We had touched lightly on this topic throughout and mentioned it a few times but I had not delved into it and actually addressed or taught about the inner workings.  I felt like it was the most relevant and the most effective thing that I could close this series with so I decided to move forward.  My new topic?  Inner vows.

I knew about inner vows and I had some relevant material to prepare so teaching this class wasn’t a problem.  But I knew that this topic would be somewhat different because the examples and stories that I would share on this were examples and stories that I pulled from resource materials.  I didn’t have any reference point from which to speak from personal experience.  For this last class, the Lord had chosen something that He had not first walked me through a personal discovery and healing process on prior to delivering the teaching.

As I read through the materials and prepared for what I would teach the class I couldn’t seem to identify any areas of my past or present life where I had made any inner vows or was living under any inner vows.  Especially since I am at the healthiest point spiritually and emotionally that I have ever been in my life.  No problem, I had plenty of reference materials and I knew that I had heard several of the women refer to making inner vows so I planned to open up the class for discussion from them anyway.  Less direct teaching and more interaction would be good.

Class started and all went as planned.  I presented the initial parts of the materials about inner vows describing what they are, how they work, and how to identify them.  I gave a few examples of what inner vows might sound like with some telling characteristics.

I told a story about a person who made an inner vow as a child and relayed a subsequent story of how this vow played itself out in her later years and became damaging to her marriage and children.  Once everyone had a full grasp of what inner vows were I opened the floor for discussion.  Two people shared their experiences with inner vows they had made and how they had impacted their lives and relationships.  Then I asked for one more person to share if they had a story.

That was my “fatal” mistake.  As this last lady told her story the Lord spoke very clearly to me and showed me an inner vow that I had made and how it was playing out in my life currently.  As she talked to the group the Lord had a personal dialogue with me about this inner vow.  When she was done talking she turned the conversation back over to me and it was my turn to come clean.  I shared with the group about the inner vow and how it had impacted my life over the years and was still in effect even now.  I used this as a segue into the teaching about how to break the vows in your life.

Then as the class watched on, I demonstrated the breaking of the vows in my own life to them so they could see how it worked.  I repented for making this vow and living under my decision to control my own life via the vow I made.  I released control to God in the situation and articulated to them what that meant and what that would look like as I continued to submit to God’s control.

I forgave the people who were in the original situation that caused me to make the vow and identified how I had improperly interpreted and judged the situation which caused me to take on the guilt and shame and resulted in the vow.  I released the guilt and shame that didn’t belong to me and gave it back to those whom it rightfully belonged.

Lastly, I explained to the group how I would have to work with God to develop new behaviors to replace the old behaviors that had developed in my life because of the vow.  Each time I saw myself acting in the old ways, I would have to intentionally replace those behaviors with new ones that God would have to show me until I developed new habits to replace old ones from the old mindset.

I needed to be transparent in order to get free.  They needed to see truth in order to learn how to become free.  They needed to see that just because I am a minister that doesn’t make me exempt.  I experience the things that I teach them and that’s how I know how to help them.  I am not better than they are I have only gone through most things ahead of them.  Today, God chose that I would go through right before their eyes.